Hello from Skift. It’s Tuesday, March 29 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast explains why Mauritius tourism officials are targeting global nomads, how Delta aims to expand its transcontinental market share and AirAsia’s subscription plan for inflight services.
Mauritius has set an ambitious target of attracting 1 million foreign tourists by the end of 2022. But what markets are its tourism officials, who have long focused on luxury visitors, targeting in their bid to achieve this noble goal? Publisher Asia Peden Doma Bhutia writes that Mauritius travel makers are looking to digital nomads and retirees.
The Indian Ocean nation’s tourism officials have launched a premium visa program offering long-term visas to tap into the aforementioned segments. Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, said the agency has seen huge demand among digital nomads and retirees for the premium visa. About 3,000 people have applied for the visa and 2,000 of them have already arrived in the country.
But Mauritius faces a tough climb to meet its 2022 target of 1 million visitors. The country attracted just over 90,000 tourist arrivals in the first two months of the year, and Chinese citizens – a lucrative market for Mauritius – are still largely banned by their government from traveling abroad.
Second, the high-end transcontinental market has been one of the most lucrative and competitive in the United States in recent years, and Delta Air Lines is not giving up any ground in the competition. The carrier has announced plans to unveil stretched business class suites on transcontinental flightswrites airlines journalist Edward Russell.
Delta will configure 21 A321neos with 148 seats, 16 of which are Delta One extended business class suites. It joins nearly every other major US carrier in offering business class stretch seats on transcontinental flights. Delta has not yet provided a timeline for when the premium configuration will go live.
The Atlanta-based airline is also building a new premium lounge at its JFK airport hub. The Delta One lounge, part of a $1.3 billion expansion to the airport’s Terminal 4, is expected to open by December 2023.
We end today with AirAsia. The carrier unveiled a limited subscription plan for flights and food delivery to customers in four Southeast Asian countries, editor Dennis Schaal reports.
AirAsia is limiting its Super+ subscription plan to 200,000 subscribers who sign up by April 2. Consumers based in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines who meet the deadline would not have to pay base fares on AirAsia flights from April 11, 2022 to April 10, 2023. They would also be eligible for the Covid flight insurance for flight cancellations if they tested positive three to seven before their flight was scheduled to depart.